Lake Dunlap, a small reservoir on the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels, became the sixty-third Texas reservoir to produce a largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds when Matthew Moccia of Manchaca caught a 13.34-pounder from the lake December 30.
Moccia was fishing in 10 feet of water using a DD22 lure when the bass hit about 10:15 a.m. It measured 26.25 inches long and 23.25 inches in girth.
The fish became Toyota ShareLunker 539 and is currently at the A.E. Wood State Fish Hatchery in San Marcos awaiting the results of DNA testing. If the fish is pure Florida largemouth bass, it will be taken to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and held for spawning. If it is not pure Florida, it will be returned to the lake as soon as possible.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked Florida largemouth bass into Lake Dunlap in 1978 and 1988.
The fish is the third to be entered into the Toyota ShareLunker Program during the current season, which runs until April 30.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year and will receive a prize package from G. Loomis. If a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the season, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
Image courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife